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Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Always check your copy (even if you don't think it's your job)

I don't profess to be someone to look to for advice on writing/publishing that often, cause in many ways, the sum of my career is What Not To Do (accumulate massive debt, write for free, generally fuck things up), BUT one nugget of wisdom I do have is, if you are writing a book, ask to see all the copy before it goes out. Ask to see the cover copy, the catalog copy, the press releases. Do yourself a humungous favor (and your publisher), and just look over these words.

Why? Because your publisher is busy. Even small publishers are juggling lots of projects, and you are invariably going to care mor about the minutiae of your copy than they are. I've seen typos on copy that was meant to go on my cover copy. Today I saw a catalog page that three separate times said I'm a Village Voice columnist, a job I haven't held in over a year! My friend had a press release about her brand-new book go out with her namespelled wrong. You may think it's somene else's job, but that's oh so wrong. It's YOUR book, and therefore your responsibility to be extra careful and make sure what's being put out in your and your book's name is factually correct.

I'd also advise that if other people fuck up, don't blame them. You need them on your side anyway, and it's not intentional, obviously. Of course it sucks, and looks bad, but probably way worse to you. Still, once you start asserting your inner copyeditor over your own materials, you'll feel more a part of the publishing process, and ensure that fewer typos make it through. Because at the end of the day, a typo in your book is one thing, a typo on the flap or back cover is way worse. Me? I like to see catalog copy, I'll even write it myself if I have to. I've suffered through heinous book covers, which were bad enough, and now that I'm working with presses I'm really proud of (Cleis, Bantam, Avon Red, Seal), I'm thrilled ot have great cover art and be putting out books I can be proud of, not just doing it for a quick few hundred bucks. I want to make sure these books go out into the world with as much of a fighting chance as they can get, hence, I ask, I correct, I proofread. It's part of my job, I feel, even when it's a pain.

So that's my little lesson, learned from trial and error. Very soon I will get to share with you the crazy ot cover of my winter erotica novella anthology that's coming from Avon Red (Harpercollins) in December, Bedding Down. (you can pre-order it now if you're super eager!)

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